'Walkinators' Sponsor Fundraiser For MDA Aug. 24

By: Rowan Wood

The Walkinators will continue raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association at an End of Summer Party Aug. 24. COURTESY PHOTO

CHATHAM – How did the children’s television series “Phineas and Ferb” contribute to the formation of a local team for a benefit Muscular Dystrophy Association Muscle Walk?

“Well, I was eight and I loved the show,” said Sage Barnes, a Chatham resident who will be a senior at Monomoy Regional High School in September. Dr. Doofenshmirtz, a character on the show, always created devices with the suffix “-inator,” “and since we had to come up with a team name and identity for the muscle walk, we decided to go with the Walkinators.”

The Walkinators have been active for eight years and have been participating in Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Muscle Walks since the team’s formation.

“Many years ago, we discovered this opportunity to give back to MDA, who has done a lot for our family, by joining a local muscle walk,” said Rachel Barnes, Sage’s mother. Over the years, the Walkinators have raised over $37,000.

Now, Sage’s Walkinators are returning to the fundraising scene. They will host an End of Summer Party to benefit MDA of Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts on Saturday, Aug. 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Cape Cod Beer at 1336 Phinneys Lane in Hyannis. The evening will include light refreshments from local restaurants, a silent auction, dancing to music from local band The Swells, and a cash bar.

According to Rachel Barnes, the items at the event’s silent auction will mainly be from local artists and businesses. “We have a hand-painted scarf from Frugal Fineries, some art from Jenny Bovey, and lots of other things,” she said.

Last year Sage was re-diagnosed. “It turns out that I don’t have something called Muscular Dystrophy.”

“They wouldn’t have come up with the new diagnosis if they hadn’t been able to research further,” said Rachel Barnes. “We know that the research matters and it’s making a difference in everyday lives.”

“I’m lucky because it won’t affect me the way we thought it would,” said Sage of learning she doesn't have MD. That doesn't change her resolve to continue with the Walkinators. “Since I have the ability to help out, that’s the most important thing.”

MDA supports research into the varied forms of Muscular Dystrophy, including ALS, Duchenne’s, and Limb-Girdle. “The funding assists everything under that blanket,” said Sage, “so they can help as many people as possible.”

Unique and quirky hats have become one of the Walkinators’ signatures. “The first one was the team logo,” said Barnes, “and we did pirates, sharks, and it just got more absurd from there. Initially the purpose was that so we could find each other in large crowds, but as the years went by, we became recognized because of the hats.”

“We’ve devolved,” said Sage, laughing.

“I would say we’ve gotten sillier,” agreed her mother.

Some of the events thrown by the Walkinators have included parties, theater slams, and more. “If it’s not fun, we’re not doing it,” said Rachel Barnes. “We’re hoping people will come to have fun with us, and feel the joy that we feel in seeing a cure on the horizon.”

Admission to the End of Summer Party is $25, all of which will go to MDA. Tickets are available at the door and in advance through Eventbrite online at www.eventbrite.com/e/end-of-summer-party-to-benefit-mda-tickets-64969555690.